Along the Street: Pioneer grape grower dies

Oregon wine grape growing pioneer James “Jim” Maresh Sr. of Dundee died March 6. He was 94.

Maresh planted four acres of Pinot and Riesling vines in 1970. According to Dick Erath, founder of Knudsen-Erath winery, he was one of the first, if not the first, established farmer to plant wine grapes in the Willamette Valley.

The Mareshes moved to Oregon from Wisconsin and, in 1959, settled on a 27-acre farm in the Dundee hills.

Soon their property on Worden Hill Road encompassed 200 acres on which they grew prunes, hazelnuts and other tree crops.

They met Erath in 1968 when he was scouting Yamhill County, which he considered a suitable place for Pinot Noir. He convinced them to plant wine grapes. 

Maresh went on to sell grapes to many winemakers, including Fred Arterberry Jr., who later became his son-in-law when he married Maresh’s daughter, Martha.

Maresh and his wife, Lois “Loie” Maresh, also used their fruit for their own label, Little Red Barn. Over the years, he became an advocate for grape growers and the wine industry, and is known as a land use advocate against development.

In 2014, Maresh was inducted into Ponzi’s Wine Walk Hall of Fame. He was honored with the Founders Award at the 2015 Oregon Wine Symposium.

Maresh is survived by his daughter and her second husband, Steve Mikami, and grandson Jim Arterberry Maresh, a third-generation wine grape grower, among others. His wife died in 2000.


Plenty of cheese

Yamhill County restaurants sold 6,741 grilled cheese sandwiches during the Melt Down fundraiser for the YCAP food bank, which ran Feb. 1 to 28.

Taylor McLean-Down, who organized the event, said that translated into $13,582, since restaurants donated $2 for each sandwich. Sales of T-shirts and other items with Melt Down logos will add to the total.

She thanked sponsors, restaurants and diners. “This fundraiser literally wouldn’t happen without the community support and your love of cheese!” she said.

This was the fifth year of the Melt Down, which was founded by Diane Longaker during her tenure at YCAP. McLean-Down took over this year after Longaker moved to Juliette’s House.

Adelsheim marks 50th

David Adelsheim will host a series of “Founders’ Stories” interviews to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Adelsheim Wines.

Adelsheim and his former-wife, Ginny, purchased a south-facing property near Newberg in 1971 that became their first estate vineyard. He was the original winemaker, as well.

In the 10-part Founders’ Stories series, he and other Oregon wine pioneers will celebrate Adelsheim Wines’ heritage and future in the Chehalem Mountains, along with “the lofty dreams and pioneering spirits of Adelsheim’s history and that of its peers.”

The winery also plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary by releasing several commemorative wines, including library selections of Elizabeth’s Reserve, vintage artist labels and a new wine called “The Deed.”

Featured in the Founders’ Stories interviews, in addition to Adelsheim and his former wife, are: Diana Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards; Charley Coury, Charles Coury Winery; Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, Sokol Blosser Winery; Dick Erath, Erath Vineyards; Bill Fuller, Tualatin Vineyards; Nancy and Dick Ponzi, Ponzi Vineyards; Myron Redford, Amity Vineyards; Marjorie and Ron Vuylsteke, Oak Knoll Winery; and Pat and Joe Campbell, Elk Cove Vineyards.

The trailer for the series can be seen online at adelsheim.com/50years. New installments will be released on the first of each month.

An extended, hour-long podcast can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher.

For more information on Adelsheim’s 50th anniversary, go to adelsheim.com/50years.

Veterans town hall

Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Kelly Fitzpatrick will host a live virtual town hall for Vietnam veterans on Thursday, March 25.

The program will start at noon via Zoom. It is free, but registration is required at oregon.gov.odva/Connect/Pages/Townhalls.aspx.

More than one-third of Oregon’s 300,000 veterans served during the Vietnam War era, Fitzpatrick said.

He will discuss earned benefits, disability compensation, Agent Orange exposure, health care and other resources available to them and their families. He also will discuss recent changes to benefits, such as the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.

“When Vietnam veterans returned home from the battlefields nearly 50 years ago, they did not receive the heroes’ welcome they deserved,” Fitzpatrick said.

“But instead of turning their backs, they committed to the promise that never again would a generation of veterans abandon another, and have emerged as the true leaders of our veteran community today.”

Parks prepare

Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, said parks staff are cleaning up damage caused by wildfires and the ice storm, as well as making preparations to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown.

Most state parks have already reopened, or will do so in the next few months, she said.

Campground site reservations are available at most locations. Overnight camping rates will remain the same as 2020 rates except for a $3 increase for electric hookups in selected parks between May 28 and Sept. 6. The electric hookup rate will be $24-$35 and the full hookup range will be $26-$38 per night at Champoeg State Heritage area near Newberg and other parks that offer camping.

Some pandemic-related, temporary changes remain in place, including the closure of some group facilities and hiker/biker camping areas.

For more information about Oregon State Parks and campgrounds, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.


Jobs added

Oregon added 8,300 nonfarm jobs in January, following the December loss of 27,500 jobs, according to the state Employment Department.

Jobs added included about 2,100 in retail trade, another 2,100 in leisure and hospitality and 1,900 in private educational services, plus smaller amounts in other industries. At the same time, transportation, warehousing, utilities and construction lost jobs.

OED officials said the state’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.2% in January from 6.3%, as revised, in December. The unemployment rate dropped by close to four tenths of a percentage point in each of the last three months of 2020, following more rapid declines during the prior five months.

The peak rate was 13.2% in April 2020. Despite improvement, OED said, unemployment remains “substantially” above pre-pandemic levels.

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